It was a quick shot, on Clearfield’s first offensive play of the game, and it all but decided things in less than two minutes.
When Bison quarterback Isaac Rumery delivered a long strike to Micah Heichel for a touchdown, Bald Eagle Area was left to play catch-up.
Rumery passed for two touchdowns, Seth Caldwell ran for two scores and Clearfield rolled 37-0 on Friday night at Alumni Stadium, locking up the Mountain League title.
Caldwell also hit a milestone in the game, with 60 yards on 18 carries. It gives him 4,005 yards for his career, becoming the third back in Bison history to reach the 4,000-yard mark, joining Christian Lezzer and Dave Richards.
“Credit to that young man, he’s an outstanding young man to get 4,000 career yards rushing,” coach Tim Janocko said. “And our offensive line, he’ll be the first to tell you the people in front of him did a great job.”
The senior back, who had first-half scoring runs of one and two yards, had his longest carry on his very first attempt for 37 yards, and didn’t have another run longer than five yards. He reached the milestone with a two-yard run in the third quarter, and added one more rush of five yards before standing on the sideline the rest of the night.
“I’m very happy to break that mark,” Caldwell said. “It was a goal I really did want to get. I still want to get the all-time goal, and I couldn’t have done it without the O-line and receivers that block for me for every game, every week.”
Rumery did his damage both with his arm and legs. He was 9 of 16 passing for 166 yards and the two scores, and also carried the ball 10 times for 47 yards.
“We have a great quarterback that’s able to run and throw the ball,” Caldwell said. “That’s what our team’s come down to and we’re doing a great job doing it.”
The combination was a handful for the Eagles, though they had the Bison bottled up at times. The BEA defense registered 15 tackles for a loss or no gain.
“There’s no doubt our defense is close,” Eagles coach Jesse Nagle said. “We’ve been close all year long. I think we have the most tackles for losses in the county, but we also probably give up the most home runs in the county.”
It was indeed a home run that set the tone. After a modest BEA drive off the opening kickoff got the Eagles to the Clearfield 43 yard-line on fourth down, BEA attempted a fake punt. But the Bison had their eyes open and bottled up speedy freshman Gage McClenahan for only a yard and forced a turnover on downs.
Then it was time for Rumery to hit Heichel in stride on a 58-yard bomb.
“They have weapons everywhere,” Nagle said. “We talked about, ‘Don’t let them get over the top, don’t let them get over the top.’ Then the first play on offense? They get over the top. … We have two safties high and they still get behind us.”
“Being able to stop them there,” Janocko said, “and then come out and throw a touchdown pass first play definitely set the tone for us.”
Following the two scores from Caldwell, BEA was pinned deep after a punt. Blake Roberts’ run up the middle was fumbled, and quarterback Tanner Kresovich fell on the ball in the end zone, tackled by Zach Horton for a safety.
Rumery hit Ryan Lezzer for a two-yard scoring strike late in the first half, and a Luke McGonigal run from the 1 capped the scoring in the third quarter.
“We were able to get some big plays when we needed them,” Janocko said. “We threw the ball pretty effectively again, and we mixed some things up.”
The Eagles moved the ball well at times. Kresovich had six carries for 39 yards, Austin Young added 28 yards on six tries and Roberts rushed for 24 yards.
They also advanced into the red zone twice, with a fumble and interception denying both tries. In all, the Eagles had two fumbles and three interceptions.
“It’s frustrating,” Nagle said. “We had it down there a couple different times and we just don’t punch it in.”